The Splash Finale: They Crowned a Celebrity Diving Champion, and No One Died!

ABC Splash

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a phrase. While often used to describe the passion that lovers experience when forced apart for a long time, it also succinctly illustrates my relationship with the no. 1 verified-Twitter-account-user diving competition on television, Splash.

I went strong for the first three episodes, with thorough recaps complete with commentary, speculative drug-use accusations, and GIFs, but then I hit a wall. I couldn’t do it anymore. Each Tuesday evening, I thought about turning it on and writing about it for the next day, but for four straight weeks (Episodes 4-7), I couldn’t get myself to do it.

But now we’re here. The final episode. And while ridiculous, it’s time to give this show a proper sendoff.

The last thing I saw, from Episode 3:

Kendra Wilkinson had forfeited, which meant Louie Anderson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wouldn’t have a dive-off against one another, and thus both were staying for the next episode. So turning on the finale four weeks later, I had no idea who was still in play.

These three:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.15.48 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.15.16 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.14.56 AM

Very confused. How?

Episode 4: Louie Anderson eliminated.
Episode 5: Katherine Webb withdrew due to back injuries, replaced by Louie Anderson, who then withdrew.
Episode 6: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar eliminated.
Episode 7: Brandi Chastain eliminated.

And we’re left with Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, ex-Baywatch actress Nicole Eggert, and skier Rory Bushfield.

Before getting into the finale, one last look back at the initial predictions for the show:

  1. Kareem will start off having a very hard time diving, because he has so much body to control, but he will eventually get it and be one of the best competitors. (Correct: Fifth place, not too shabby.)
  2. Louie Anderson will be very bad at this competition. (Incorrect: He was bad, but not “very bad.” That honor goes to Keshia Knight Pulliam.)
  3. Greg Louganis will beef with everyone but Chuy Bravo. (Unclear: I missed four episodes, we’ll never know.)
  4. Keshia Knight Pulliam, winner of both Celebrity Fear Factor and Celebrity Weakest Link, will most certainly make it to the top three. She’s a proven gamer. (Incorrect: Have never been more wrong about anything.)
  5. Nicole Eggert’s Baywatch skills will not help her in this competition. (Incorrect: She’s in the medal round, so they had to have helped, somehow.)
  6. In a surprise move, Ndamukong Suh’s image will worsen with this show, after an incident involving an adoring young fan, an autograph, and a push off the high dive. (Slightly correct: He did not push a kid, but he hasn’t gained fans.)
  7. After this show, Rory Bushfield will most certainly have a Wikipedia page. (CORRECT: TOLD YOU SO.)
  8. Katherine Webb will win this competition. (Incorrect: Sad.)
  9. Drake Bell will get kicked off due to doping charges. (Incorrect: I guess they didn’t catch him.)
  10. When this show gets picked up for a second season, one of the contestants will be Master P. (FINGERS CROSSED.)

OK, let’s go. There’s a trophy to be won, after all:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.39.20 AM

After the techno opening sequence that I’d forgotten put me in such a miserable mood, we see our three finalists:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.41.29 AM


They’re important for about two seconds, because soon after we get the real star of the show.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.41.51 AM

I genuinely missed you, Joey.

Also, just so we don’t lose track, here’s the first (of many, presumably) insanely hyperbolic Charissa Thompson quotes from this episode:

“They are going toe-to-toe to find out who is the greatest celebrity diver of all time.”

I mean, I guess? Maybe? Anyway, not important, because after this statement, we see all the losers:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.46.47 AM


It’s unclear why they’re not wearing jeans and cardigans. Unless they’re doing one final dive, which I promise I will fast-forward through.

First up, Nicole. Last week, she seemed to own a complicated dive, which shows how far she’s come since last I watched this show.


Before her dive, she has a chat with Charissa, who acknowledges that she’s the only “chick” left in the competition. Ndamukong, how does that make you feel?

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.54.14 AM


I know, right.

After more chick talk, the dive.


That was incredible. She’s really good. She might just win.

At this point, we learn that the judges will be grading the first dives and the top two averaged scores will advance. At that point, there will be a final dive-off and the audience will decide the winner.

Nicole’s score:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.57.30 AM

Very solid.

Before going on to the next diver, here are the greatest three seconds ever recorded:

Yes, Kareem just did a sky hook while jumping into a pool while a song titled “Skyhook” played in the background. Yes, that just happened.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.09.39 PM


Insanely hyperbolic quote no. 2 from Charissa:

“This is arguably the most unbelievable diving event of all time.”

I’m going to go ahead and say that’s just false.

Next up: Rory Bushfield.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.16.04 PM

His head is wrapped up because he ruptured his ear drum a few weeks prior, and apparently water rushing into a hole in your eardrum is painful. To some.

After shooing away Joey, it’s time.

If he doesn’t win, this competition is rigged. Based on his judge scores, however, it looks like he’s well on his way:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.20.22 PM

To put the complexity of that dive in perspective, leave it to my archnemesis, Judge David, to spell it out in the worst way possible:

“If you added a half twist, and then half of a dive, that’s one of the hardest dives done in the world. That’s the dive that I won GOLD with.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.23.26 PM

Meet me in the club, Judge David. It’s goin’ down.

Before our final diver, we get another intermission dive from one of our losers.


Yep, that pretty much sums up his competition. He doesn’t even get in the water.

But enough of him. Last person: Drake Bell. His backstory is that he got a concussion from this dive, which looks like the greatest flop of our time:

Poor Drizzy.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.31.42 PM


Though shaken up, he’s ready to prove himself. Once Joey is, again, shooed away, it’s time for Drake to make it happen:

Well, kind of …

Yeah. Sorry, man.

Before we get the results that say Drake has been eliminated, we have another interlude, this time from Katherine Webb:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.38.54 PM

I’m sure she’ll just throw her crown in the water and stand up there like Ndamuk—

She’s the best. As for Drizzy:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.41.17 PM


Sorry, man. It’s been real. Even though quitting the HGH probably knocked you out the contest, it was the right thing to do.


But before that, this happened:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.42.20 PM

Yes, wouldn’t you know it. A SportsCenter-style “Top 10 Flops From Splash,” thrown into the episode. Oh, parent companies … [Disclosure: Grantland and ESPN and ABC are owned by Disney. Hi.]

Anyway, once that’s over, along with a very long, inspiring segment about Nicole, it’s time for her final dive. She knows she has to go big, because coming up after her is Mr. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 SSX Felix Baumgartner himself, Rory Bushfield.

So she’s doing a dive she’s never done: a double backflip.

Oh no.

Oh no.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 1.01.57 PM

Oh no.

She hurts her back and needs assistance in the pool. This isn’t good. Splash is easily the most dangerous reality show. Concussions, ruptured eardrums, injured heels, hurt backs — this is not for those who enjoy walking normally the next day.

Thankfully, she’s able to walk it off. Quick question, though:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 1.08.53 PM

Hey, Keshia, glad you’re concerned enough to walk your pink-robed self over to the scene, but WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO DO TO HELP?

Oh yeah. Screen time. I get it. Never mind. Do your thing, girl.

Finally, the final dive of the season, courtesy of Rory Bushfield.

It’s over. We have ourselves a winner, Joey.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 1.15.41 PM


See you next season.

Filed Under: ABC, Splash, Swan Dives

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert